Work in progress

I get my cable modem today, which means I can move my work on ThreadNeedle over to the server. Unfortunately, that’s the same server that serves this weblog as well as my other sites.

My way of saying stuff happens.

Progress reports, status, work in effort reported over at ThreadNeedle discussion.


Out and about

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Euan of The Obvious? has made the move from Blogger to a new MT-based weblog in a new location (time to update links, folks). Congrats on the move, Euan. And remember – if you need help with MT, all you have to do is holler. Since you’re having template – and most likely CSS – problems, I won’t be able to help you, but I’ll commiserate nicely.

Speaking of MT, it sounds like Ben and Mena’s server is being overwhelmed and they need to make a move, themselves. I’m not exactly rolling in dough at the moment but I’m finally plunking down a bit for my MT installation – especially since I’ll be extending my use of MT throughout all of my websites.

I was going to send a well done to Dorothea for duckling rescue when I realized it was David who did the rescuing. So – well done, David!

AKMA’s thinking about creating a U Blog gift shop. There’s a problem though – we have no school colors. We have no school motto. (We have no school, but that’s besides the point.) Life’s issues may march on – the good with the bad, the happy and the sad – but everyone knows a school needs school colors and a motto. Something Latin. What’s Latin for blog? Now, what’s Latin for blog that doesn’t sound like a disease?

A quiet thanks to my favorite songbird, Shannon: Smoochies, girl – you made my day yesterday.

And now, this blog will self-destruct in five seconds: one, two, three, ….

Just Shelley

The value of anger

To get my degree in psychology, I had to establish a specific hypothesis and then design and conduct experiments to either prove or disprove it. I based my hypothesis on the work conducted by Dr. Martin Seligman on Learned Helplessness.

Dr. Seligman’s theory is that an organism (dogs, rats, college sophomores, or other), when exposed to circumstances beyond their control will eventually give up trying to effect change. That doesn’t sound remarkable – why try to change your circumstances when they’re beyond your control? What is interesting, though, is that even when circumstances change and the organism can effect change, they don’t because they no longer have the ability to even recognize that they now have control. They have literally learned how to be helpless.

The end results of learned helplessness can run the extremes of resigned acceptance and indifference to incompetence and burnout to severe personal depression.

Dr. Seligman and others continued this research and further expanded the theory to conclude that the level of helplessness a person experienced was directly dependent on how much they internalized the cause of the helplessness. In other words, if a person attributed the lack of control to something within themselves, they’re going to experience learned helplessness at its most extreme. They’re going to get severely depressed.

For my work, my hypothesis was that the degree of helplessness a person experiences can be mitigated by another emotion – anger. The way to cure helplessness? Piss the person off.

Sorry. I know you all wanted me to say something along the lines of “learned optimism”, enabling personal empowerment, love, joy, or some other form of positive emotionalism. No can do. In the work I conducted as a senior in college and in my own experience, I have found that, at times, there is no healthier or more motivating emotion than anger. And anger, more than any other emotion, is the one most suppressed by society.

Is a loved one ill? Accept that it’s God’s will. Job sucks? Accept that only a few people have good jobs. Has a disaster hit? Accept that it’s a result of bad karma. Don’t waste your time trying to fight back and, whatever you do, control your temper – you’ll live longer if you do.

Anger has become socially unacceptable.

Well, that’s just bullshit.

Revolution isn’t based on calm reason, but the fact that enough people became angry at the status quo and fight to effect change.

People don’t fight injustice because, in a moment of love for humanity, they decided to devote time to fighting the injustice. The people saw something that made them angry, and their love of humanity helped channel that anger into positive results.

If we all followed the dictate of “accepting God’s will” as an explanation for illness, we wouldn’t have doctors – we’d have more priests. And a lot more dead people.

Now, anger can be destructive, as we witnessed recently with the shootings at LAX. Usually, though, this type of out of control anger is based on the very thing that we’re fighting – learned helplessness. Except, instead of becoming internally self-destructive, the person externalizes the destruction, literally going ballistic.

Healthy anger isn’t out of control – it’s not red-faced screaming accompanied by acts of unpurposeful destruction. Healthy anger is not shooting innocent people at a ticket counter, nor is it road rage, or abuse of loved ones.

Healthy anger is passion and purpose, determination, and change.

Anger led to the Civil Rights movement and stopped the Vietnam war. Anger prevents corporate monopolies and brings down corrupt politicians. And anger can heal.

Anger applied effectively and appropriately, is not only healthy for an individual – it’s necessary for a thriving society. If it’s angry people that forge a new society, it’s the gently melancholic, the intellectually pessimistic, and the complacent and indifferent people that destroy it.

Go ahead, get mad. You’ll feel better.

An archive of this page, with comments, is at the Wayback Machine